Archive for ‘Gender imbalance’

03/10/2016

Amitabh Bachchan: ‘If she gets paid more than me, that’s fine’ – BBC News

One of India’s biggest stars, Amitabh Bachchan, says he’s glad people are talking about the gender pay gap.

He recently starred in a film called Pink about feminism and attitudes towards women in India which has caused quite a stir in the country.

He spoke to the BBC’s Yogita Limaye.

Source: Amitabh Bachchan: ‘If she gets paid more than me, that’s fine’ – BBC News

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04/12/2015

China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met with top U.S. and Chinese technology executives in Seattle two months ago, they posed for a now-famous group photo. But one thing was missing: women from China.

As WSJ’s Li Yuan writes in her “China Circuit” column: This defies the conventional wisdom in China that compared with Silicon Valley, China’s tech industry has less of a gender-inequality problem. True, women accounted for nine out of 30 Alibaba partners when it went public in 2014. Both Alibaba and Baidu’s chief financial officers are women. Some of China’s most prominent venture capitalists are women, too.

But the group photo attests to what is really happening behind the success stories: China’s tech industry is as male-dominated as that of Silicon Valley. And unlike the debate and discussions taking place in Silicon Valley about gender inequality, China’s tech industry has yet to acknowledge the problem. With the​tech sector becoming the brightest spot in a sluggish economy, women risk losing out in the competition for the best-paying jobs and the best opportunities to start their own businesses.

Source: China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

04/12/2015

Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s policy makers have long accepted the need for workers to delay retirement to ease social and fiscal pressures from a rapidly aging population. Few, however, could agree on how to do it.

This week, state-backed researchers fueled fresh debate on the issue with a new proposal on how to coax more productive years out of China’s silver-haired generation. They called for gradually extending the country’s statutory retirement thresholds over the next three decades, culminating in a flat retirement age of 65 years. But their plan is proving unpopular. It is particularly striking a nerve among some women, who in China can retire between five and ten years earlier than men. The statutory retirement age for men is set at 60 years.

On social media, many female users mocked what they perceived as selective pursuit of gender equality. “In 2045, would there be equal pay between men and women? Would men be able to give birth?” a user, who identified as female, wrote on the popular Weibo microblogging service. “Chinese society, in reality, is rife with gender inequality; why bring about gender equality in retirement age?” another user wrote.

In an online survey, the state-run China National Radio found nearly 80% of respondents objected to setting a flat retirement age for men and women. “Delaying retirement is understandable, but setting the same retirement age for men and women isn’t compatible with our country’s conditions,” CNR quoted a Weibo user as saying. “Men would only have to work five more years, while women would have to work ten years longer. And women still have to face family pressures, so it’s clearly unsuitable.”

The proposal from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences comes amid a longstanding debate in government and academic circles on how to implement a much-needed but deeply unpopular policy. Beijing has said it will gradually raise retirement thresholds starting in 2022, though the policy would only be finalized in 2017. Under rules unchanged since the 1950s, China allows most female workers to retire when they turn 50, while women in public-sector jobs can do so at 55 years of age. To change this, the CASS researchers proposed that the government could in 2017 set a flat retirement age for women at 55 years, eliminating the distinction between private and public-sector workers. Authorities could begin extending retirement thresholds—for men and women—at a fixed pace, starting in 2018.

CASS researchers suggest adding a year to the female retirement age every three years, while doing so for men every six years. Beijing could also allow flexibility for workers to bring forward or delay their retirement by up to five years, on the condition that their pension payouts would be adjusted accordingly, CASS said.

Source: Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

02/08/2014

With End of China’s One-Child Policy, There Hasn’t Been a Baby Boom – Businessweek

Last November, China announced the loosening of its restrictive one-child population policy: Couples would soon be permitted to have two children so long as one parent was an only child. Government planners predicted that roughly half of China’s 11 million eligible couples would chose to have a second child within five years, and investors predicted a boom in sales of diapers, baby formula, and educational toys in China.

Why China's Second-Baby Boom Might Not Happen

The policy change has been rolled out in 29 of China’s 33 provinces and regions, yet by the end of May only 271,000 applications for permission to have a second child had been submitted. Many came from older mothers concerned not to lose their chance. At an agency in Beijing’s Tuanjiehu neighborhood that connects parents with maternity nannies, staff said that the majority of requests pertaining to second children came from women in their late 30s.

Six months into the new policy is still too early to judge the ultimate impact. But experts now express more modest expectations. “Every metric thus far indicates the loosening isn’t leading to a baby boom,” says Mei Fong, author of a forthcoming book on China’s population policies. With rising costs of urban living, Chinese couples are deliberately limiting family size for reasons similar to those depressing fertility in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Western countries.

via With End of China’s One-Child Policy, There Hasn’t Been a Baby Boom – Businessweek.

01/08/2014

China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek

Priscilla Yang is standing outside Tuanjiehu Beijing Maternity Hospital, her husband dutifully holding aloft a purple umbrella to shield her from the blazing July sun. The 27-year-old is eight months pregnant and feeling relieved: Her latest rounds of prenatal tests came back normal.

Yang doesn’t know, but wonders about, the gender of her child. A college-educated public-relations executive, Yang says she hasn’t tried to wheedle illicit information from the maternity hospital staff. Boy or girl, “both are OK,” she says. “What I care most about is that the baby is healthy.”

Yang’s indifference about gender is becoming more common, though the struggle has been long. It has been illegal in China since 2001 for doctors to reveal the sex of the fetus to expectant parents. When ultrasound technology became widely available in the late 1980s, the number of sex-selective abortions shot up. Traditional Chinese culture prized sons, who performed heavy labor on farms and were expected to inherit land and stay home to care for elderly parents. Daughters left their parents’ household to join their husband’s after marriage. The one-child policy, announced in 1980 and enacted nationally within a few years, only intensified the desire for sons. Even after the 2001 law, many Chinese parents managed to bribe poorly paid doctors to see ultrasound results—then chose to abort female fetuses.

via China’s Girl Births Ratio Improves as Country Gets More Educated – Businessweek.

25/07/2014

What Happened to India’s Girls? A New U.N. Report On Sex Selection Offers Some Answers – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s census data consistently shows two things: the country’s inexorably expanding population and its deep preference for sons over daughters.

A new United Nations study takes a deep look at how parents keep choosing boys over girls, despite laws that seek to block the use of ultrasounds and other pre-natal tests to determine the sex of an unborn child.

India’ child sex ratio – the number of girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6 — has deteriorated sharply over the past 20 years, dropping to 918 in 2011 from 945 in 1991.

India’s sex gap “demonstrates that the economic and social progress in the country has had minimum bearing on the status of women and daughters in our society,” said Lakshmi Puri, an Indian who is a U.N. assistant secretary general.

Here are five significant takeaways from the U.N. study, written by Mary E. John, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Centre for Women’s Development Studies.

Improvements in the Overall Sex Ratio are More Nuanced Than You Think

Since 1991, the number of women per 1,000 men has been rising, though it remains far below normal. In 1991, there were 927 women for every 1,000 men. In 2011, the year of the most recent census, that number had risen to 943. The U.N. study argues that much of the improvement isn’t because fewer girls are being born and surviving into adulthood. In India, in the past, women had a shorter life expectancy than men – unlike the situation in most of the rest of the world. That has changed. Indian women now outlive men, in part because of lifestyle changes and “diseases that take a greater toll on” men.

via What Happened to India’s Girls? A New U.N. Report On Sex Selection Offers Some Answers – India Real Time – WSJ.

01/05/2014

How Women Lost Out as China’s Property Market Boomed – Businessweek

In 2005, Zhang Yuan and her husband bought an apartment in Beijing for $30,000. Seven years later, in 2012, the same apartment was worth $317,000. Zhang, a professional woman in her 30s, and her husband both contributed money to the down payment and mortgage payments. Only her husband’s name appears on the property deed.

Beijing's central business District is home to high-end housing

At the time the young couple bought their home, Zhang wasn’t thinking much about legal formalities. Men—still regarded as the ostensible heads of households in China—have commonly registered property in their own names.

Since China’s Supreme Court issued a new interpretation of the country’s Marriage Law in 2011, Zhang’s has had second thoughts. The law now stipulates that if a couple divorces and only one person’s name is on the deed, that person—usually a “he”—walks away with full ownership of the marital home.

Since she took two years off work to care for her young child, Zhang has had trouble climbing back onto the career ladder. Today she worries more about money—and her financial dependence on her husband.

According to a 2012 Horizon Research and IFeng.com survey of homeowners in China’s leading cities, men’s names appear on property deeds for marital homes 80 percent of the time, while women’s names appear on just 30 percent of them. “The law is so unfair to women,” Zhang told sociologist Leta Hong Fincher, author of a new book, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.

The upshot, as Fincher’s book argues, is that China’s women have a claim that is tenuous, at best, to the country’s burgeoning real estate wealth. “Chinese women have largely missed out on what is arguably the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history, valued at around 3.3 times China’s [gross domestic product], according to figures from the bank HSBC,” she writes. “That amounted to over $27 trillion at the end of 2012.”

via How Women Lost Out as China’s Property Market Boomed – Businessweek.

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14/02/2014

Valentine’s Day: Chinese Movie Seat Prank | TIME.com

In what might be the greatest-ever Valentine’s Day prank, a group of Shanghai singles purchased every odd-numbered seat for a Feb. 14 showing of Beijing Love Story. Their sole purpose: disrupting  lovey-dovey dates. “Want to see a movie on Valentine’s Day?” asks a message posted by an organizer.  “Sorry, you’ll have to sit separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Tell that to the millions of Chinese who will be spending the day in the absence of a date. With a population of 1.3 billion, China naturally has hefty share of the world’s singletons. This is compounded by a dramatic gender imbalance. Thanks to the one-child policy and preference for sons, there are an estimated 34 million ‘surplus  men’ in China — a whole lot of lonely hearts.

Luckily, the country’s unattached have a history of being awesome; they’ve even got their own day. Since the 1990s, Nov. 11 have been celebrated as Singles Day. It was picked because the numerals — 11/11 — are said to look like ‘bare branches,’ a Chinese term for bachelors. It started as an occasion to get together for a meal, but has since morphed into a multi-billion dollar orgy of online shopping.

Valentine’s day is also celebrated (if you’re into that type of thing).  As I left my apartment block this morning, an older gentleman entered through the lantern-drapped gate, a bouquet of pink and white flowers tucked under his arm. All of Beijing’s best restaurants have been booked up table-for-two by table-for-two.

The self-desscribed “computer nerd” that spearheaded the Shanghai theater stunt said he was just trying to do something nice for fellow singles. He initially tried to buy all the the tickets in the theater, he told the Shanghai Morning Post, but was turned down. Things came together when he started a campaign on a crowd-funding site and, working with fellow singles, snapped up the requisite seats; behold:

The best part may be the comments it generated online. For every “No wonder you’re single,” there were witty rejoinders and high-fives to spare. “No choice but to go on a blind date now,” joked one commenter, according to a translation by ChinaSmack. “Now most lovers will go to the hotel directly,” quipped another.

Gazing at the checkerboard seats, one netizen had this to offer: “If he bought the white seats, he could’ve saved nine tickets.” Unromantic and  cheap?  You have won my heart.

via Valentine’s Day: Chinese Movie Seat Prank | TIME.com.

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02/01/2014

Cradle Baby scheme hopes to end female infanticide | Reuters

Unwanted infant girls in the sterile, sparsely furnished nursery rooms of the Life Line Trust orphanage in Tamil Nadu are considered the lucky ones.

A baby girl is seen lying in a cradle inside the Life Line Trust orphanage in Salem in Tamil Nadu June 20, 2013. Thomson Reuters Foundation-Mansi Thapliyal-Files

They are India\’s \”Cradle Babies\” – products of a government project that permits parents to give unwanted baby girls anonymously to the state, saving them from possible death in a region where daughters are seen as a burden and where their murder is a common reality.

\”Often babies are found in ditches and garbage pits. Some are alive, others are dead,\” said A. Devaki, a government child protection officer in the Salem district, one of the worst-afflicted areas.

\”Just last week, we found a newborn baby girl barely breathing in a dustbin at the local bus stand.\”

She added that a lack of education, the low status of girls and widespread poverty were the main factors why girl babies were killed or dumped with little chance of survival.

\”One girl is okay, but a second or third will likely end up being killed. That\’s why we introduced the Cradle Baby Scheme.\”

But while the project has been praised for potentially saving the lives of thousands of Indian girls, human rights activists have criticised it, accusing authorities of encouraging the abandonment of girls and promoting the low status of women in this largely patriarchal society.

via Cradle Baby scheme hopes to end female infanticide | Reuters.

17/12/2013

Why India is sitting on a social time-bomb of violence against women

There are 37 million more men than women in India, and most of them are of marriageable age given the relatively young population. A social time-bomb is now setting off there with terrifying consequences, and until the gang-rape in Dehli a year ago, very little attention was paid to this.

A demonstration in January 2013 in response to the gang-rape in Delhi.

Imagine a world where the proportion of girls being born is so low that large proportions of males just cannot find partners when they come of age. In such a world they are more likely to congregate in gangs for company. In turn, that means they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour: i.e. commit crime, do drugs and engage in violence against women. In gangs, men are more likely to harass women and even commit rape.

But this isn’t some dystopian fantasy – there are 37 million more men than women in India, and most of them are of marriageable age given the relatively young population. A social time-bomb is now setting off there with terrifying consequences.

While researching for my e-book on violence against women in India, earlier this year I came across an extraordinary article on why some brothers living in the same household were sharing a wife rather than marrying separate women.

Let that sink in for a moment. The Times of India reported in 2005 on instances where between two and five brothers living in a house, in rural areas in the state of Punjab, had married the same woman. It was extraordinary not just for what was in it, but for what was left out.

The article – \”Draupadis bloom in rural Punjab\” – cited two reasons for these polyandric arrangements: they prevented the household from splitting into multiple families and therefore dividing the meagre land they owned; men just could not find wives to settle down with. [The women are called \”Draupadis\” in reference to the princess who married five brothers in the Hindu epic The Mahabharata]. Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh told the Times of India: “the small landholdings and skewed sex ratio have abetted the problem.\”

via Why India is sitting on a social time-bomb of violence against women.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2013/12/13/slow-change-comes-to-india-a-year-after-delhi-gang-rape-expert-zone/

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